May 2013 Archives

Spring Linen Top - Simplicity 2892

May 31, 2013


Hot weather means linen tops, lots of them. My first, in what I hope will be many, is Simplicity 2892 with modifications. I started with a medium weight linen in a light color which is to die for.I think all linen is to die for though. My mother-in-law dislikes is because it wrinkles so easily. As a mom, this doesn't bother me like it used to (because let's face it what I'm wearing will be wrinkled, covered in snot, spit up or dirt by the end of the day but it starts off cute) but if you share her opinion and dislike linen for its upkeep then I recommend using a crinkled gauze. A nice gauze will function similarly to the linen and keep you cool and breathe well. But the added bonus is because of the texture it will not show new wrinkles readily and will offer a little stretch in case you want to really enjoy your meal.

Continue reading Spring Linen Top - Simplicity 2892.

Knit Toys for Summer

May 29, 2013


For knitters summertime is tricky. It is hard to give up a beloved hobby but at the same time it is hard to knit in the warm weather, working around all the activities and wool is not ideal for most in the summer (it doesn't "do" water and heat well). Well, I have another summertime dilemma. It seems as though every girl I'm acquainted with is pregnant or has just had a baby. So I need some cool, different presents (everyone gives baby blankets) so I decided to do a mash-up of my 2 difficult situations. The solution: Knitted toys worked in Cotton! If you think about it, it really is genius on many levels.

Level 1: How many people do you know who will be giving the soon-to-be or new mom a really sweet, totally washable knit toy. Answer: no one but you.

Level 2: Cotton is pool friendly so you can be splashed and not worry about it. It is washable. It is also more fun and comfortable to work with in warm weather.

Continue reading Knit Toys for Summer.

Perfect Bags for Traveling Light - Made With Free Patterns

May 28, 2013

In my last post, I shared the mix'n'match travel wardrobe I put together using only free pattern downloads from HotPatterns. But what good is a travel wardrobe if you don't have a stylish way to cart it around and organize it?

Once again, I turned to our free downloads!

The organizational element was easy -- I knew the Diva Licious cosmetic bags and Bijou Babu jewelry roll had me covered. I've made the cosmetic bags many times before, but never the jewelry roll, and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long! It's perfect for carting around my rings and things!

Continue reading Perfect Bags for Traveling Light - Made With Free Patterns.

Travel Light and Look Fabulous - All With Free Patterns!

May 27, 2013

I love to travel. I love to make clothes. And I love a good challenge.

Recently, while simultaneously planning a trip and thinking about upcoming sewing projects, I was browsing through our free pattern downloads from HotPatterns, and a bolt of inspiration hit me. I decided to compile a wardrobe for my travels using only patterns from this group. I also like to travel light, so I decided I could only pack three tops, three bottoms, and something to throw on in cooler temps. By mixing and matching, that would give me nine different outfit options.

Here are the patterns I chose for my travel wardrobe:

Continue reading Travel Light and Look Fabulous - All With Free Patterns!.

Product of the Month: e6000

May 22, 2013

Crafter's everywhere love their epoxy and no epoxy is better, more universal than e6000. It is the work horse of the craft world. I have used mine to fix shoes, repair jewelry, affix candlesticks to create works of art and bring countless toys back from the dead. When I am not feeling the sewing love and just don't have the time to knit and want to make something, well, pretty for me, I always grab the e6000. It can do anything that you need and it is the one glue I have found that dependably glues felt to felt.

Here are some amazing DIY I have found that highlight e6000. Grab a tube and make your favorite:

Continue reading Product of the Month: e6000.

Chef Bubba Goes Outdoors!

May 20, 2013


Mes amis, it has been a long, cold winter for most of us. The winter cold has extended into May making us wonder if spring was ever coming. Finally, I feel the first signs of spring- the first Braves game, warm days with gentle breezes, birds singing in the morning, daffodils and young people graduating from high school. I am like the groundhog when I feel spring it is time for me to leave my kitchen at the Redneck Cafe to create some outdoor dishes. This old chef is looking at my backyard. I need to make it party ready for barbecues, block parties and more.

Continue reading Chef Bubba Goes Outdoors!.

Wearing a Carousel

May 19, 2013


Sometimes, you just want to add a little fun to your wardrobe. I was recently watching a merry-go-round in an amusement park, and I loved all the colors and movement so much that I was inspired to create a skirt with carousel horses on it. I used cotton prints and a few bits of ribbon for this project -- it's meant to be an easy-wear summer skirt. Cute, but unfussy. Most of the fabrics I used were pieces from the stash -- many just small scrap pieces.

My first step was finding images of carousel horses that would be easy to trace as silhouettes.

Here's a fun tip if you have a tablet device: You can use the screen as a tracing board. Just put your paper right over it and trace -- the illumination of the screen will make your image glow through the paper so the lines are easy to see. You may have to adjust your image to get the right size, but the pinch-to-zoom feature on most touchscreen devices makes that easy.

Continue reading Wearing a Carousel.

Organic Chevron Grilling Mitt

May 17, 2013

IMG_4429.JPG IMG_4448.JPG

It is amazing how just a few different cuts and extra rows of stitching can take such a common object, like an oven mitt, and make it spectacular. I wanted to try making a chevron pieced design for this blog project but I felt daunted by the idea of it. I hate cutting and cutting on an angle- Please! That is just extra work. Instead I cut some straight strips and then cut some more and eventually I created the look I was after.

Make your own Organic Chevron Grilling Mitt. This mitt makes a great father's day present. Here's what you will need to make 2 mitts:

Continue reading Organic Chevron Grilling Mitt.

Create Kids Couture Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress- A free pattern download

May 14, 2013

Create Kids Couture Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress Create Kids Couture Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress
Create Kids Couture Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress

Create Kids Couture has blessed us with another delightfully feminine sewing pattern: Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress. They have put a very ruffley spin on the classic pillowcase dress. I love the details that have been added to this favorite dress pattern. A hidden elastic neckline disguised with a fabulous bow that looks like a tied neck. There is also a banded hem and oversized neck ruffle that will delight any aspiring princess.

Continue reading Create Kids Couture Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress- A free pattern download.

My Husband's 'Hawaiian' Wardrobe

May 12, 2013


I talk to a lot of people who sew clothing for women, but seem fearful of stitching menswear. Since my husband likes custom clothing almost as much as I do, it was only a matter of time before I started sewing for him. He loves Hawaiian-style shirts, and loves being able to pick out fabric for unique, one-of-a-kind shirts.

The hubs has some definite requirements in the cut of his shirts, and most retail versions do not pass muster. He likes the sleeves a little longer than they normally are cut. He likes the side hem slits to be shorter than most. But really, I think he just likes picking out fabric.

Through the years, I've made -- no joke -- dozens of shirts for him. Birthdays, Father's Day, special trips, holidays -- he usually knows he'll get at least a few new shirts each year.

Continue reading My Husband's 'Hawaiian' Wardrobe.

Blog of the Month: I am Momma Hear Me Roar

May 11, 2013

All Photos from I am Momma Hear Me Roar

I found this month's blog on Pinterest. I enjoy cruising the DIY & Crafts section while putting my littlest babe to sleep. One particular night I came across a pin that promised to fix the waist gap in your jeans without major alterations. I clicked. I discovered Cheri's blog and all the DIY goodness it beheld. "I am Momma Hear Me Roar" is a fantastic blog for mommas and all those people who interact with children on a regular basis. Cheri's tutorials are sewing based but most are recycle/upcycle/reinventions so you can go through that Goodwill pile and maybe pull out those few items you were looking for an excuse to save. She also creates some very cool, very inspiring paint projects like the Paisley Tee for Me and the Cloud Nursery Sign  (My personal fave!)

Cheri's Tutorial page also includes a nice selection of No Sew projects for those days where you really don't wanna as well as boy/girl/momma projects and home décor/organization ideas. It is a great selection. You can also find her blog schedule which shares what posts she will be featuring and when. Mondays are fun kids' projects that Cheri completes with her 2 boys. Tuesdays are craft days. Wednesdays are "What I Love Wednesdays". These rest you will have to check out for yourselves.

Cheri also has a special navigation tab highlighting some really great charities that you can explore and choose to help as you will. It is great that she chooses to set aside a little blog space to spread the word for these charities.

Lastly, you can find some important FAQ's that have been asked over the years concerning many of her most popular posts. Don't forget to visit this page since you will want to make many projects from "I am Momma Hear Me Roar" and you will find this info pertinent to success.

I hope you enjoy Cheri's gorgeous, amazing and fun blog as much as I do and don't forget to spread the word.


What's that fabric: Tailor's Daughter

May 8, 2013

The Tailor's Daughter by Janice Graham is a novel that takes place in Victorian England in which a young girl deals with disability, death, her place as a woman in 19th century society and her calling as a tailor following in the footsteps of her father. Janice Graham goes into great detail in the backroom goings-on of a tailo,r throwing out jargon like she, herself, grew up a tailor's daughter. 

Superfine wool: (see red coat above) This is a type or degree of Merino wool. The term Superfine is used to describe diameter of each wool strand and not the quality of the wool itself. Superfine is a thin, soft wool fabric typically used in evening or special occasion gowns which is why Veda decided to use it for Mrs. Truelock's mourning gown.

Crape: (also known as Crepe) is a thin, opaque fabric that resembles gauze but is most often made from wool and silk and lately polyester and blends. In the Victorian period crape was most often made into dresses or formal wear for mourning or feast days. Crape has a great deal of body and had some stretch but also wrinkled very easily which was why it was reserved for special days and the wealthy.

Moire: Although typically linked with silk, Moire is a treatment and not a type of silk like Dupioni. Moire gives a water like effect on the surface of a fabric. It can be applied to cotton, linen, silk, taffeta. There are two methods of achieving a moire. The first, changeable, is not a proper moire but gives a good enough imitation to be called moire. It is the process of weaving the warp one color and the weft another color so that the color changes in the light and the watermark effect is more noticeable in the sheen. The second is called Calendaring and is an actual treatment, not a weaving, in which the fabric is folded in a specific pattern and pressed with ribbed rollers to produce the water streaked effect. Moire silk is highly prized because of this expensive treatment. 

Crochet Fringe

May 3, 2013

crochet fringe1
You know I couldn't leave well enough alone. I love the look of the fringe hand towel so much that no matter my love of pom poms (see Old Fashioned Linens for reference) I had to make a fringed hand towel. So sure, I could sew on some our Chainette Fringe onto a linen towel and call it a day but you know that's not how I roll. I had to make my own fringe for my handmade guest towel.

fringe collage.jpg

To make your own fringe hand towel you will need 1 yd. of medium weight linen for 2 towels and a skein of cotton or washable yarn and a crochet hook in a size to fit your yarn (check your ball band for the size) and the same size knitting needle.

crochet fringe2.jpg

Finish your hand towel but either hemming or serging. Measure and mark where you want each fringe; I spaced each fringe about ½'' apart. Using your knitting needle poke a hole at each mark about ¼'' from the edge. Twist it to make a big hole (it will close a little as you work) and then keep poking until you have all your holes. Using your crochet hook, work a row of *single crochets, 2 slip stitch* working each SC in a hole and the slip stitches (SS) in between. Work one slip stitch then turn.

crochet fringe3

* Work one SC in the first space and pull the loop out until it is about 7'' long. I use a 7'' long card in the loop to help me measure. With your hook at the top of the loop, start turning clockwise about 25-30 times. Then fold the twisted loop in half and allow it to untwist. It will twist on itself and create one dangly fringe. If your fringe gets twisted in the wrong spot just gently pull down on the loop to straighten it out. Stick your hook back in the same space and work one SC. Work one SS then repeat from the * to the end of the row. Cut a long tail and weave in your end. It is pretty simple but tedious. Pop in a good movie because you will be there for a while. To work my fringe over 16'' took me about 2 hours for just one end of the towel.


This is a great project to work on a road trip, at the beach or in the carpool lane. It is not big, no need to remember where you are in the pattern and if it gets dirty from being in the bottom of your purse for several week; its washable. The results will be amazing and justified. If you are looking for longer fringe then just keep adding to your original loop remembering that the finished result will be a little less than half (7'' loop is results in a 3'' fringe) and keep twisting until the loop gets tight and snug on you hook then fold in half. 

Faux Batik -- Made with Glue!

May 1, 2013

I've seen many tutorials for this technique popping up online. The idea is that you use blue gel glue as a resist to draw designs on fabric. But it seems like all the how-tos I've seen use acrylic paint in lieu of dye. I have really been wanting to play with some of our iDye colors, so I thought I'd give this technique a whirl and go for dye instead of acrylics. And I played with a T-shirt, of course!

To start with, I wrapped a firm board with plastic. Mine's just a backing board from a scribble pad. I just slid this board into my shirt under the area where I wanted to "draw" my design.


I decided to use a stencil for my project, because my free-hand drawing is usually nothing to write home about. Several years ago, I bought a set of princess stencils that's been sitting in my sewing room waiting for a project ever since. This seemed like a good time to pull them out.

Once I got Snow White arranged over the area on my shirt I wanted to decorate, I started applying glue. I was pretty generous with my glue layer here.


I left the stencil in place for the first eight hours of dry time. I didn't want to mess up the design pulling it off.

4-glue-batik.jpgIn total, it took more than 24 hours for all my glue to set -- much longer than I had anticipated! (Even though I had read in other people's project descriptions that it took a long time to dry, I think I somehow thought my house was a magical place where dry time would be reduced.)

Once the glue was absolutely, completely dry, I layered an empty trash bag inside of it and set it on top of another trash bag in my tub to prep for color. I am lucky enough to have a tub set aside for dye projects -- you could also do this outside on a table, or in any space that's well-protected. I put the plastic bag inside the shirt so that the dye that I apply to the back side of the shit wouldn't prematurely dissolve my glue design.

5-glue-batik.jpgThen came the messy (read: FUN) part! The iDye products are unique in that you don't have to pour out pigment powder into water -- you throw the whole packet in, and it dissolves. I put the packet directly into a squirt bottle with warm water and shook it vigorously for a bit. This worked like a charm, but it was the last project that water bottle will ever see. I tossed it after this.

Then, I squirted away! I like a little bit of splatter and uneven finish, so I didn't make any effort to smooth out my color. I flipped the shirt over after an hour or so of dry time and did the back. My tub looked like carnage city after this, but it cleaned up nicely.

6-glue-batik.jpgI gave the shirt about six hours to dry. After that, I hand rinsed it in the tub to get the first batch of pigment out, and once the water was running a pale pink instead of fuschia, I tossed it in the washer for a regular cycle and then (after checking that all the glue had been washed away), it went right into the dryer.

The end result makes me want to do more projects with this technique! It's super fun (great for working with kids) and really opens up some creative possibilities. You could create watercolor blends by using multiple colors of different dye concentrations, or add in additional embellishments like rhinestones or embroidery.


Since my stencil wasn't super detailed, Snow White isn't a delicate, finely-lined design. I'm not sure that I could get a whole lot more detailed with this technique, but that speaks more to my sloppy drawing hand than the possibilities. And I can't WAIT to try this on fabrics to incorporate into other projects. Remember, iDye comes in a formula for natural fibers (I used that one for my 100% cotton T-shirt) and a formula for synthetics, so you can try this on almost anything.

Ruffle Knit Wristlet

Ruffle Knit Fabric is a fantastic creation and has lightened the load of ruffle lovers everywhere and even those who just prefer an occasional ruffle. I am an occasional ruffle lover but I think that could be because of the hassle involved in crafting ruffles. Broken threads, injured fingers on the brink of being garroted off and frustration (Oh! The frustration). Poof! It's gone with this wonderful fabric.

I wanted to explore a how ruffle knit fabric could be used in a different way and also in a smaller project. I have seen it in dresses, skirts and oodles of girly clothing. I am a wristlet girl so why not. And, just for kicks, let's turn it 90 degrees and add a bit more swing to the ruffles. Throw on a bow and call it a day.

Tara's Feminine Swing Wristlet


Halfway through I nixed the chevron and opted for some yellow floral


½ yd. ruffle knit fabric

½ yd. polka dot fabric

One 9'' zipper

Remnant of cotton jersey knit (for flat piping)

18''x 2'' long piece of lightweight cotton for bow

Instructions (all seams are ½'' unless otherwise noted):

Cut 2 from ruffle knit and 4 from lining fabric: 8.5''x 5.5'' (just fold a regular piece of paper in half)

Cut 4 from lining: 8.5'' x 4'' (top piece)

Cut 2 from jersey knit: 2''by 9''

Cut 1 from lining 18'' by 4'' for strap

Pin ruffle knit to one same size lining piece with wrong side of ruffle knit facing right side of lining piece (the ruffle is transparent so you will be able to see polka dots through the ruffles) and baste. Repeat for second piece. Folding jersey piping in half and line up raw edge with top edge of ruffle knit and stitch in place. Place one top piece, right sides facing, onto of piped ruffle knit and stitch in place. Press seam towards top piece and top stitch. This completes one main panel. Repeat for second main panel.



For lining: lay one top piece on top of lining piece and stitch in place. Press seam open. This create one complete lining piece. Repeat for second.





Add the bow: Fold your wrist strap in half lengthwise and press. Open it up and fold long edges towards the center and press. Fold lengthwise again tucking the raw edges to the center and press. Topstitch the strap. Pin raw short edges together to determine the preferred length of your strap and mark right where the strap hits your top wrist. This is where you will stitch your bow. Fold and press your bow piece in the same manner as the strap. Trim a length to 6'' and mark the center. Tri fold your piece so both raw ends meet at the center mark and hand stitch in place. Cut another short length to wrap around the center and overlap slightly in the back. Hand stitch this piece in place and then hand stich to your wrist strap.

Use these instructions for completing your wristlet 


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2013 is the previous archive.

June 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.